This study estimates the investment, financing, and payout responses to variation in a firm’s effective corporate income tax rate in the United States. I exploit quasi-experimental variation created by the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, a corporate tax expenditure created in 2005. A 1 percentage point reduction in tax rates increases investment by 4.7 percent of installed capital, increases payouts by 0.3 percent of sales, and decreases debt by 5.3 percent of total assets. These estimates suggest that lower corporate tax rates and faster accelerated depreciation each stimulate a similar increase in investment, per dollar in lost revenue.
After months of heated debate over whether companies would hand the biggest tax break in three decades back to shareholders or reinvest it in their businesses, there’s finally some hard data.
Among the 130 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results in this earnings season, capital spending increased by 39 percent, the fastest rate in seven years, data compiled by UBS AG show. Meanwhile, returns to shareholders are growing at a much slower pace, with net buybacks rising 16 percent. Dividends saw an 11 percent boost.
That is hardly conclusive, but…